Six runs to win a game!

We read a lot about sabermetrics. OPS+, ERA+, bWAR, fWAR...all very interesting stats and useful in determining strengths and weaknesses of players and assess their contribution. We can combine them and see if a team is underperforming or overperforming in comparison to the rest of the teams in the MLB. Cool. I hardly control them. But I do think they kick ass. With that in hindsight a lot is written and commented about the Diamondbacks' offence lately. And we all know that the offense is underperforming, or at least that is the general impression we all have.

At times we like to forget the statistics and go back to the good old "hit the g****** ball and make some runs" mentality.

But how many runs? How many runs do the Diamondbacks need to win a game? I will give a minor assessment on this thought. This article will not get into flashy hitter's and pitcher's stats; I am sorry for that if you are expecting it. I will just look at the results we have achieved so far with this team: wins and losses and the number of people we brought over to home plate and should have batted in.

What have I done? Very simple, I just took all the results of the games the Diamondbacks played thus far and made a distinction between games won and games lost. Then I took a look at how many runs we and our opponent scored.

One of the first data I was actually interested in is if the Diamondbacks have better results against Division, League or Interleague opponents. Is the American League West such a strong division? Are we unlucky in playing them? How do we perform against the other teams in the National League? I was a bit surprised to see the result:

Right now, before the final game against the Padres in this double header, the Diamondbacks sit at 0.536 with 74 wins and 64 losses. A quick look at the split between Division, League and Interleague matches shows that the winning percentage is similar: we sit at 0.529 against Interleague opponents, 0.548 against Division opponents and 0.525 against League opponents (Division opponents excluded). We still have some tough match-ups coming up so slight differences can become bigger. But, since these percentages are quite similar, I will allow myself to make some general conclusions hereafter. And it also saves me some time.

Of the 74 games we won, the average number of runs we scored was 6 (it is actually 6.01351 but you cannot score that many runs in a game yet), which is a number of runs we achieved in 11 games. That looks pretty good. But was it also efficient? I mean, did we really need to score 6 runs in our wins? The answer is no. We did not need to score 6 runs in most of the games since our opponent, in our wins, was only able to produce an average of 2.5 (either 2 or 3 runs). It explains how the Diamondbacks achieved 11 wins while only scoring 3 runs. Outscoring our opponents with 3 to 4 runs in our wins can hardly be called efficient. Why score 6 runs if you can win with less, since it is all about winning, right? Indeed, in all our wins with 6 runs, we never needed that much runs.

But 6 runs is a good number though. Especially if we take a look at our losses. In our losses our offense looked pretty much like our opponents' offense in our wins: we averaged 2.4 runs; more often 2 than 3 runs. However, our opponents did not muster that much runs as we did in our wins: 5.26563; more often 5 than 6 runs. This tells us that, on average, we needed 6 runs to turn our losses over into a win.

Scoring 6 runs in each game is utopia of course, especially for this team, since it is a total we achieved in 8.64% of our games. But if we score 6 runs, there is an 80% chance we win the game!

So: root for six runs!

Photo by: Dallas Reedy @ (Free Download)

[Additional info, by Jim]

Here are the team's win-loss records by runs scored and allowed this year. Interesting to note the team is almost perfect when scoring more than DBacksEurope's six runs. The only loss was the 11-10 one in Colorado on July 20, a.k.a. Bradley's Folly. We don't see quite the same with regard to runs allowed. We have five wins when allowing more than six runs, including a pair when Arizona gave up eight. Our record is actually worse when allowing five runs, than seven or eight! And we've yet to win all year when allowing six. But it's probably just a statistical quirk.

Runs scored
  • 0: 0-7 (.000)
  • 1: 1-16 (.059)
  • 2: 5-13 (.278)
  • 3: 11-13 (.458)
  • 4: 8-8 (.500)
  • 5: 10-3 (.769)
  • 6: 11-3 (.786)
  • 7+: 29-1 (1.000)
Runs allowed
  • 0: 7-0 (1.0000
  • 1: 22-2 (.917)
  • 2: 13-8 (.619)
  • 3: 13-9 (.591)
  • 4: 9-6 (.600)
  • 5: 5-14 (.263)
  • 6: 0-8 (.000)
  • 7: 3-6 (.333)
  • 8: 2-4 (.333)
  • 9+: 0-7 (.000)